For ill-treatment of the wrong schoolboys: Cab driver keeps her license and gets community service

POSTED: 10/11/12 3:21 PM

St. Maarten – There was a large fan base in court for Wulkiria Liesje Gumbs and Angel Esmil Rodriguez yesterday morning and they had both reasons for a sigh of relief and for shedding some tears over the court ruling they had come to witness.

Gumbs and Rodriguez went on a crusade on April 3 against two schoolboys who had ill-treated Rodriguez’ brother (and Gumbs’ cousin). Unfortunately, they took revenge on the wrong school kids.

Gumbs, a 24-year-old cab driver, came close to tears when prosecutor Georges van den Eshof demanded an 18-month prison sentence against her plus the revocation of her driver’s license for 12 months. The sentence was a lot milder: a 15-month fully conditional prison sentence, a fully conditional revocation of her driver’s license for 12 months and 120 hours of community service.

Angel Rodriguez did not get off that light, but his sentence was still well below the prosecutor’s demand of 2 years imprisonment: 24 months, of which 10 months suspended with 2 years of probation.

Gumbs and Rodriguez reacted to the ill-treatment complaint by the brother. They paid him a visit, learned that the culprits were Milton Peters College students and went back home. On the way they spotted two MPC-students. Gumbs drove her car straight at them and only stopped at the last moment. Rodriguez pulled a gun from underneath his shirt, and both defendants chased the boys, cornered them and ill-treated them.

The court acquitted Gumbs of firearm possession because it could not be established that she knew her cousin carried a gun. But Judge Tamara Tijhuis found enough proof to convict Gumbs for threatening the schoolboys with serious ill-treatment and as an accomplice for ill-treating the boys with a firearm. The judge concluded that Gumbs made a significant contribution to the ill-treatment, because she got out of her car and took part in chasing and cornering the victims.

The court ruling states that Gumbs apparently wanted to take revenge for an earlier incident that had nothing to do with the two victims and that she never considered the possible consequences of her actions for the boys.

Based on Gumbs personal circumstances – probably the fact that she earns her living as a cab driver – Judge Tijhuis decided to make the revocation of her driver’s license fully conditional.

The court acquitted Rodriguez of robbing one of the boys of a gold necklace and ruled that there is no proof he had acted with premeditation. But the court considered proven that the 18-year-old had ill-treated the boys with a weapon – according to Rodriguez an alarm pistol – that caused a bruise on the head of one of them. The court rejected the defense argument that Rodriguez had acted under emotional distress after he heard that his brother had been ill-treated.

 

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